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16-18 Weeks

Transparent Skin

Your baby may now measure 15cm and weigh up to 125 grams. Its legs are now longer than its arms. Because it has no layer of fat under its skin it will look fragile and thin and through its transparent skin layers you would be able to see the intricate network of blood vessels.

Co-ordination

Your baby is now co-ordinating its own movements. You may feel fluttering in your abdomen, like bubbles bursting, as your baby moves around. This sensation, called “quickening” usually occurs between 16 and 20 weeks. At first you may think the movement is your own digestive wind.

17 Weeks

Lanugo

Your baby now weighs more than the placenta. It is likely to be aware of loud sounds that it hears outside the body and may respond with sudden movements. Swirls of soft down-like hair covers the body. Called lanugo, most of this will have fallen off before birth.

Constipation

Progesterone, the hormone that maintains pregnancy, slows your digestion and may cause constipation. Drink plenty of plain water, as much as 2-3 litres a day, and eat simple foods that are easily digested. Exercise will also help. You may find you are sweating more than usual due to the extra blood in your system. You may also notice an increase in vaginal discharge, or experience nasal congestion due to an increase in fluid levels. On a more positive note, these pregnancy hormones can add lustre to your hair and a glow to your skin.

18 Weeks

Boy or Girl?

A skilled ultrasound operator can now determine if you are having a boy or girl. Although ultrasounds have become a routine part of anti-natal care you may not choose to have one if your pregnancy is problem-free.

More and more your baby will be moving about, testing its reflexes. The amniotic fluid provides a perfect environment with enough space for the baby to bounce about, kicking and grasping, at times energetically. If you have trouble sleeping experiment with additional pillows placed around your body for increased comfort.

Posture

Your posture becomes vitally important as you compensate to support the extra weight and changing centre of gravity. Because pregnancy hormones soften and stretch the ligaments and muscles that support your joints, this can cause backache. Try to maintain as straight a spine as possible and avoid the tendency to thrust your stomach forward. Doing this will compress the lower spine and disrupt your nerve flow. You will feel this as jabbing pains or numbness in the buttocks and legs. Avoid high heels.




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